070: Creating Your Online Classroom with Lindsay Padilla

070: Creating Your Online Classroom with Lindsay Padilla


Have you ever thought about creating and teaching an online course, but thought it was just too much to take on? Or that there would be so much involved that you just couldn’t do it? Today we are talking with Dr. Lindsay Padilla the mastermind behind the Build a Better Beta Program. Lindsay’s program is all about creating a simple Beta course with minimal tech.

Let’s get into it!

Rather than starting with something new, Lindsay built her business from the in person classroom as a sociology professor at a community college.She recognized that entrepreneurs weren’t sure how to teach, organize content, and what technology that they needed in order to be able to deliver content.

This led her to create her signature “Build a Better Beta” program. It’s all about how to launch a course as quickly/easily as possible with as little tech as possible. She is excited to help people who have been sitting on courses too long because of all the things they thought they had to have ready in order to launch their program.

You grow your course based on the feedback.

From the beta, not from what you think someone else wants to learn. You just need to put the idea out there and work collaboratively and iteratively with your first set of students.

When someone comes to me and says, “Jaime, we need to get this out there.” My first response is to ask them how many phases that is launch. We need to get phase 1 out of the way as quickly as possible so we can learn:

  • what our students actually want
  • where they get hung up
  • where we need to expand and evolve

It’s funny, I never realized it before but as Lindsay pointed out, most of the time courses created by marketers are basically textbooks. That is, they are material but they are not true learning experiences and don’t reside in a construct for completion and implementation.

“I believe courses are true learning experiences.”- Lindsay Padilla

Lindsay wants to change this perception and create an actual learning environment similar to what you would get in a college course. In this space, there are multiple factors including the textbook. She’s reframing the idea of what it means to TEACH a course. If she gave you a textbook and said go learn this and then she tested you in a couple weeks how good would you do if all you had was a textbook?

As you heard, Lindsay called me out on using the term “Minimum Viable Product” because it’s a software development term. A better beta is more like a minimum awesome course. What makes it awesome is that it’s an intimate co-creative experience. Lindsay’s program teaches her students to not pre record anything or pick a platform until you have live taught in a workshop setting because it helps you to really show up for the people that pay for your expertise.

This gives you the most flexibility and allows you to truly listen to your students in a LIVE setting. You are allowed to charge money for this kind of experience. Phase one should really only be how can I get my students from point A to point B.

You and your expertise are what is valuable NOT how fancy your graphics are. It’s truly about you and your students.

We all know there are so many tech options out there for virtual courses. Most of the ones the gurus are using are going to work. But you can get stuck in the weeds with this little detail of which platform they should be on.

I see people crowdsourcing on social media all the time… asking things like what platform they should be on.
This is where I pop in and say, “Can we have a conversation about this?” If I know where someone wants to be in 6 months to a year I can easily suggest 2-3 pieces of software to help them get there. But if I’m one comment in a thread of 400 comments, my value isn’t demonstrated.
Those people are no more clear than when they asked the question in the group.

What is the fastest way to get someone from “what they want” to “seeing the result”?

In this online space, a lot of our validation comes from outside. The issue with this is that it puts doubt in the minds of people who really do have information that they could teach — they ask themselves questions like am I qualified enough?

Lindsay has found that her customers are largely already very credible. Therefore, the thing that is truly going to move their business forward is starting to serve people.

Lindsay and I both see would-be online creators put tiny decisions like choosing a platform in their way just so they can avoid the real true hard work of putting yourself out there and selling something. People are trying to avoid rejection.

Predictably, the biggest fear is often that nobody is going to buy your course. Which leads to a mindset spiral.. If someone doesn’t buy our course then the knowledge we are offering isn’t valuable.

It’s not possible to avoid these fears. But we do need minimize the emotional/mental toll regarding the results. And then we can realize that this result is not connected to what we actually know and our value. We are literally JUST testing out a product. If no one buys your course,your material is likely not the issue. It’s likely the marketing message not the content!!

The mindset of running a beta is that you are collecting data.

If you sit around deciding which platform to use then you never collect that data. Time is money. You just need to start teaching… that’s where the value is.

Let’s go back to the textbook reference. The teachers who teach classes are excellent teachers because they are teaching what they know and they are using the textbook as a reference. I could write your textbook and you could teach and we could not ever have any contact. But you might be far more successful than I am at TEACHING the material because you have made a connection with your audience. You have sold them into your philosophy on how to interpret this material.

This is something that sticks out to me. I work in the back end of a lot of courses making sure that everything fits together so the content is delivered correctly and on schedule.

Technology can either enhance or ruin good teaching because it is the tool to create the experience.

When Lindsay is recommending tools for her students she keeps it as minimum as possible. She tends to recommend things like:

  • Google Docs- workbooks, lesson planning, being able to edit the doc live on the fly when something comes to you. Using Google Docs creates flexibility in the first stages.
  • Zoom Pro- making sure you can record a video and be a workshop style thing when delivering content. Getting the package that allows you to livestream is great if you can do it.
“If the textbook is the content you are creating, then Facebook is the classroom where they can talk to each other and get to know you a little better.”- Lindsay Padilla Click To Tweet

Lindsay likes to stream the workshops directly into the Facebook group for a beta course. This way there is no need to worry about recording video and uploading and details like that. Another benefit is that some students can’t attend a Zoom event because of their internet or download situation but can easily (and often LOVE) attending on Facebook. And this also allows the Facebook post to house the session comments. That opens up engagement! Everything that Lindsay teaches in Build a Better Beta is designed to make it easy for students/clients to have success and help you improve on your initial ideas.

Yup — we’re going there → One of the messiest aspects of online courses is collecting payment.

In the early days of “Build a Better Beta” before moving to MemberVault, Lindsay taught people to use a Paypal.Me link. But when it came to setting up a payment plan or subscription, it got a little messy.

Then she started working with MemberVault. This platform does some really great things. AND all of the premium features are available for you to use up to 50 members.
I ran a full series on MemberVault which you can access here.

Most of Lindsay’s students Beta programs are less than 50 people. Membervault has been such a game changer because of all the integrations it allows. It also allows you to create payment plans for people who need that and you just send them a link. It’s so easy!

I was seriously blown away when Lindsay dropped this brilliance on the podcast. This use of MemberVault is genius. She teaches her students to use one element of MemberVault and not worry about the other {amazing} features. This doesn’t differ from one of my core values → keeping a very streamlined tech stack. That means keeping as few pieces of tech as possible. It’s also important to implement everything you possibly can with that system.

What Lindsay is telling her students to do in phase one is to focus on and implement:

  • the payments
  • work on your relationships
  • teaching
  • what makes value

Then once that phase is done, if your clients wanted this course off Facebook you put your content into MemberVault because they are already using it for their payments.

I am not saying you have to implement everything in a system all at once. Rather, it’s more that have to exhaust that piece of software until it no longer serves you. I really like the fact Lindsay does a stair step approach when it comes to MemberVault like you would do with any other piece of software.

Zoom – A powerful low cost solution

Zoom is a very powerful tool. The addon that allows you to livestream into Facebook is called Zoom Webinar. A Zoom meeting cannot be streamed, but a Zoom Webinar can. Using this addon, you are streamlining it for the user without adding a lot of complexity for the teacher. It does take the price of the tool from $15 a month to $55 a month.

Zoom makes it really easy to remove this addon when you are done with your beta and add it back in when you’re ready to do another round of webinars or run your course again. . Most Beta program for Lindsey’s students are about 6-8 weeks long.

Lindsay will ask her clients, “Is it worth investing $80 so you don’t have to do all the downloading, uploading, and allowing students to live attend?” For Lindsay it is because she knows the time it takes to do all those things.

Lindsay teaches people to organize their Facebook group by units and modules.

Facebook becomes the true classroom. It will have the workshop that she taught live, the Q&A session she did separately, and maybe some relevant posts from her students all in one place. Live streaming your course into Facebook allows you organize your content so that someone can come in and quickly get the material they need. It’s saving her time to spend the $80 and she can turn it off really easily.

“Paying for ease of use in tech…you are buying back your time.”- Lindsay Padilla

There is a whole component that Facebook has added to their groups that Lindsay is taking advantage of to make it easier for her students. She is using a Facebook Group in a way that allows the modules.

Facebook has become a great tool to recreate a classroom online without a huge amount of overhead. Lindsay just told the entire Tech of Business audience that they can launch a course and spend around $200. What a way to just get started! Maybe it’s time for me to create a course!

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